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Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource?

Psychology, energy, self-control

Abstract

Choice, active response, self-regulation, and other volition may all draw on a common inner resource. In Experiment 1, people who forced themselves to eat radishes instead of tempting chocolates subsequently quit faster on unsolvable puzzles than people who had not had to exert self-control over eating. In Experiment 2, making a meaningful personal choice to perform attitude-relevant behavior caused a similar decrement in persistence. In Experiment 3, suppressing emotion led to a subsequent drop in performance of solvable anagrams. In Experiment 4, an initial task requiring high self-regulation made people more passive (i.e., more prone to favor the passive-response option) . These results suggest that the self’s capacity for active volition is limited and that a range of seemingly different, unrelated acts share a common resource. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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